01 Oct 2022

Man crashed into house after drinking bottle of whiskey

"There isn’t a day goes by when he doesn’t wake up in sweats"

Ballyshannon courthouse Donegal

Ballyshannon courthouse

A man who crashed his car into a house after drinking a bottle of whiskey says there isn’t a day goes by when he doesn’t wake up in sweats at what might have happened.

Gerard McWeeney, 49, of 1 Westport, Ballyshannon was before Ballyshannon District Court on Friday. He admitted drink driving with a blood alcohol level of 297mg per 100ml of blood. The defendant also pleaded guilty to criminal damage. Both offences occurred on July 28, 2021 at College Street, Ballyshannon.

Inspector David Durkin told the court that at 6.30am on the date in question, gardaí responded to a report of a road traffic collision. On arrival they found a Volkswagen Golf crashed into a house. 

McWeeney admitted to gardaí that he was the driver. 

Defence solicitor John Murray said his client had consumed a bottle of whiskey and had very little recollection of what had happened, but was deeply remorseful. 

“He tells me there isn’t a day goes by when he doesn’t wake up in sweats as to what could have happened,” said the solicitor.

“He crashed into a person’s house, and knows there was a child in the house.”

Mr Murray said his client had suffered from alcoholism for 20 years. 

“He has been in and out of every institution in the country,” said Mr Murray.

“This has had a salutary effect on him.”

He added, however, that his client had come ‘off the wagon’ and was not in a good place, despite his best efforts. 

Judge Sandra Murphy said: “Mr McWeeney is a man I feel extremely sorry for. However he is still drinking and that is a concern.”
She imposed a fine of €350 and a three-year disqualification from holding a licence, with the charge of criminal damage taken into consideration. 

The judge added: “If Mr McWeeney comes before the court again, the court has no choice but to impose a custodial sentence.”

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